OLDHAM head coach Matt Diskin is ready to unleash his “caged animals” on Barrow Raiders in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup.

Details of this home tie, which will kick-start the 2021 season for the 16 clubs involved, will be announced soon with it taking place on the weekend of March 20 and 21.

All clubs at this level are looking forward to their first game in more than a year.

“Our lads are like caged animals, but they will be no different to players at other clubs,” said Diskin.

“This year is different because of the circumstances. In many ways, there was little relevance to the outcome of the draw. We are just glad we’ve got a game, any game, to look forward to.

“Every game will be tough because we are all in the same position - just excited about playing again. Our lads are desperate to get back on the field and Barrow, like everybody else, will be the same.

“It’s been a long time since we played our last game against Dewsbury Rams in March last year and by the time we play Barrow it will be our first game in a full year and two weeks.

“Barrow will be feeling just the same and will be just as much ‘up for it’ as we are, so we can both look forward to a really tough tie which is only five weeks away.”

The winners will play Swinton Lions or Newcastle Thunder away on the following weekend and then the Betfred Championship will start over the first weekend in April.

Roughyeds are back in full contact training in ice-cold rain, sleet and snow on a soaked and muddy pitch.

“Conditions have been extreme,” Diskin added. “But there has been no whinging or moaning and everybody has been working hard and getting on with the job. It will be even better now we know we’ve got a game.”